Jack Wilshere revels in Arsenal return to action against QPR
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere said he was shocked but delighted at returning from a 15-month injury lay-off in the Gunners' 1-0 win over QPR.
"Words cannot describe it. I was just running around smiling," said Wilshere.
But the England man, who had not played for the first team since July 2011, said he struggled as the game went on.
"[Arsene Wenger] said I think you're ready, we'll see how you go after 60 minutes," he said. "After 60 minutes I was cramping up. My legs were going."
Wilshere played 67 minutes of the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, which was settled by Mikel Arteta's 84th-minute strike.
It was the 20-year-old's first appearance since he suffered a stress fracture to his ankle during a pre-season friendly against New York Red Bulls in July 2011.
Injury-hit Jack Wilshere made his first senior appearance for Arsenal in 524 days. He last played in the Premier League against Fulham on 22 May 2011.
He had not played in the Premier League since May 2011.
"Last time I played it was with [Cesc] Fabregas and [Samir] Nasri - now it's with Arteta and [Santi] Cazorla. It's like a new team and it's a new me," added Wilshere, who credited his young son Archie with helping him through his injury problems.
"It's been tough. I'm lucky I've got my family and my son who helped me through it.
"Some days you don't want to be at the training ground when the boys are going out and you're in the treatment room.
"But my son was great - whenever I saw him it made me smile."
Wilshere was only told by Gunners boss Wenger on Saturday morning that he would start the match against QPR.
There was one moment of concern when Wilshere went down clutching his ankle after a challenge from Esteban Granero shortly after half-time, but the Gunners man was fine to continue.
"It was my other ankle actually, but it was only a little knock. He helped me up afterwards - it's part and parcel of the game. You're always going to get those challenges," he said.
A thrilled Wenger revealed he intentionally gave Wilshere minimal notice that he would be involved in Saturday's game.
"I told him he was playing at 10.30am today. Sometimes I think it is better when you don't have much time to think about it when you have been out for a long time," said the Frenchman.
"Jack still misses a bit of the pace of the game, the rhythm of the game, but overall what he did was class.
"We have to see how he responds. After such a long time out, it goes a bit up and down."
Wenger said Wilshere would be rested for the midweek Capital One Cup tie at Reading.
"After a game like that, I will certainly not play him on Tuesday," he said.